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Fashion lessons from the Grammy's: how rocktstar style differs from moviestar

Payal Puri | Updated on: 14 February 2017, 5:41 IST

If there's one thing the Grammy's reinforced last night, it's that when it comes to putting on a live spectacle, cinema has nothing on music.

Kendrick Lamar's artistry and his unabashedly political, provocatie performance threw the audience into stunned silence - from jail uniforms, prison bars, and flames onstage to giant lettering that spelled out Lamar's hometown Compton. In a year where award shows are being called out on their racism, Lamar made his performance, as Jezebel called it, 'unapologetically black', as a tribute to Trayvon Martin.

Check out- Grammy Awards 2016: Watch Lady Gaga pay the perfect tribute to David Bowie

It came on the heels of a stunning performance of Hamilton, the title track from the Broadway musical that has blown New York away since its debut last year - a performance equally provocative in tone and magnificent in execution as Lamar's.

Together, they ruled the night onstage. And they demonstrated that the artistic boundaries the music awards show genre pushes leave cinema far behind.

Curiously, the night's fashion did the same.

The Oscars may form the pinnacle of red carpet fashion, but its tone is rarely, if ever, statement-making. It's stunning, yes. Stylish, yes. But what Grammy's style has going for it is what music inherently does, too - a higher degree of inclusiveness, and personality, than movie-star style, which often relies on a glamour safety net.

What distinguishes rockstar style from moviestar? Here's a handy reckoner of tricks to load up on:

Statement hair

Stylish, well-coiffed hair isn't a no-no, but neither are plumes and hairpieces and dramatic colour. One look at Lady Gaga - whose Grammy fashion was as much a tribute to David Bowie as her onstage performance - shows the world of difference between the two red-carpets.

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Lady Gaga at the Grammy's and at the Golden Globes. Photo: Getty Images

Not quite your usual accessories

We didn't even know septum rings were a thing - and there's no question that if an awards show were going to educate us on them, it would be this one. Neither are you likely to spot thigh-high gladiators, furry sandals or a mink stole on the Oscars or Globes red carpet.

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Tove Lo, Zendaya, Antra Day, Faith Evans. Photo: Getty Images

Edgier rather than elegant silhouettes

We saw miniskirts and tube tops and suspenders. We saw fierce cutouts and an insane amount of thigh. And we saw a lot of jumpsuits.

Because the Grammy's are as much about playfulness and irreverence and pushing the boundaries as they are about style. Which doesn't mean they're short of glamour, oh no.

Here's proof.

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(L-R) Zendaya, Nicole Trunifo, Kaley Cuoco. Photo: Getty Images

Dramatic and daring choices

Even more 'classic' girls like Taylor Swift and Alessandro Ambrosio went dramatic at the Grammy's. Swift, who has previously worn flirty, romantic Oscar de la Renta to Met Gala and a flirty Carolina Hererra to the Golden Globes - with a giant, girly bow at the back - wore a coral crop top and a long fuchsia skirt slit all the way up to her tailored fuchsia panties.

Ambrosio wore the same designer - Atelier Versace - in an entirely different vibe. Cutouts, which could have been the night's fashion theme, showed up in her dramatic, overtly sexy dress.

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(L-R) Taylor Swift, Alessandra Ambrosio. Photo: Getty Images

Playful details

These outfits, and the panache with which these women wear them, speak for themselves. 'Nuff said.

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(L-R) Janelle Monae, Lisa Lampanelli. Photo: Getty Images

Even the men have some fashion fun

There were, of course, enough torn jeans, hoodies and sneakers on the Grammy's red carpet - you'd never find a rapper dead in a suit after all - but even the men who went more mainstream kept their looks experimental.

Justin Bieber's swag came in the form of his mini-me - baby brother Jaxon - while Sam Smith's pale pink tailored number looked relaxed and elegant all at once.

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(L-R) Justin Beiber, Sam Hunt. Photo: Getty Images

Not everyone emerges unscathed from the experiments, of course

Ladies, we salute you. You tried.

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(L-R) Florence Welch, Joy Villa, Jacqueline Van Bierk, Manika. Photo: Getty Images

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First published: 17 February 2016, 9:50 IST
Payal Puri @payalpuri

In a 19-year career Payal has been, among other things, editor of Cosmopolitan India, executive editor of a travel and design magazine, and worked briefly in lifestyle TV. Prior to joining Catch as Editor-at-Large, she was executive director of THiNK, a cutting-edge ideas event in Goa. She has a borderline manic enthusiasm for red wine, all things digital, Goa and chewing her nails, in no particular order. At Catch she oversees all things fun, features and lifestyle, including the site's internal Slack channels, which she runs like a personal fiefdom.